Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Why Joe Tuscano never ran track

In the previous post, Observer-Reporter sports writer Joe Tuscano went into great detail as to why he never went out for the track and field team at his high school.

Tuscano, no spring chicken and prone to fits of crankiness, took exception to Tuesday's full schedule of track meets, which were held despite snowy, frigid conditions. For Tuscano, competing in such conditions were too difficult despite claims of varsity gridiron greatness.

That's not the real reason Tuscano, who once cleared a whopping 9-6 long jump following an office challenge, never competed in track. Take a look at the picture on the right and draw your own conclusions.

Granted, Tuesday's conditions were not ideal and any baseball/softball games scheduled were postponed. That's not how things work in track and field. Like football and soccer, track is contested in most conditions – lightning being an exception.

I understand what track athletes went through Tuesday. As a former sprinter, I competed in conditions similar to or worse than what Washington and Greene County experienced. Sure, personal bests and school records aren't set under such conditions, but so what?

Never hear too many complaints that a running back doesn't set a single-game rushing record when it rains.

There are dangers to competing in bad weather and, off the top of my head, there aren't many positives. When it comes to track, the length of the regular season must be considered. Track is more physically demanding than baseball and softball, thus competing in five meets in five days is not realistic. And let's not forget that the WPIAL track playoffs begin later this month (April 29). That's two weeks before the start of the baseball and softball playoffs.

I didn't mind running in poor conditions though I didn't care much for snowy meets. Makes you appreciate those wonderful, warm days a little more.


Frozen in times said...

I am a coach who has just endured a string of bad weather meets.
If the only goal of track was individual times and distances
(as Mr. T has stated in the past) then competing in the lousy weather conditions we have been blessed with so ar this season would not make sense. But as you mentioned, there is a team aspect and the section meets must go on and the big invitationals cannot be rescheduled for another weekend.
So far we have been able to make positive progress despite the weather. Case in point: if next week's county championships take place in cold weather the times and distances might suffer, but the competition among teams and athletes will still be hot!
PS If Joe had run track he'd definitely be hanging with the hurdle crew!

trackcicle said...

I also am a track coach and we competed on Tuesday. Not that I wanted to, but with more meets, invitationals and lets not forget the ever important Prom on the horizon, it had to be run. I was frozen solid by the time we reached the 200 but luckily we kept the kids warm enough that we had no injuries.

Brant said...

The only thing more impressive than Joe's long jump was the thunderous, arm-pumping run that preceded it.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Joe Tuscano said...

I had to do the fist-pump because I've had so few athletic accomplishments in my life.

As for the coach who believes he is making progress with the athletes even in poor weather, I would beg to differ. Good technique is ruined when an athlete can't grip the javelin or discus, or one of the relay batons, or the pole vault.

I would be curious to know just how many athletes have hit personal-best marks in poor weather. Bet you can count on one hand.

wind aided times said...

The progress I was referring to is getting kids practice in different events, building a team, and getting the daily repetitions and conditioning in despite the bad weather. Since we have many first year and second year athletes this season they are hitting PR's despite the weather. In addition we have had several PR's on the track from 400 to 3200 already this season.
So if prs = progress, if team building = progress, and if getting young athletes the experience they need to shine when the weather improves = progress, we are making progress.

Anonymous said...

Put some bad hair and a cheesey mustache on Tuscano and he looks like Ron Burgandy.

mike_kovak said...

Joe wishes.